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Exceptional individuals share the stories that shaped them, how they define identity, and the motivations, habits, and opportunities that led to personal reinvention. Guests feature athletes from all sports and backgrounds, whose accomplishments inspire millions on the Olympic & Paralympic stage, and people outside of sports, whose work has challenged how we think about the world today.
 
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The Sonya Looney Show

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The Sonya Looney Show

Sonya Looney: : Mindset, Plant-Based Nutrition, Performance, Mountain Bikin

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Pro Mountain Biker, Plant-Based Athlete, and World Endurance Champion, Sonya Looney interviews inspiring leaders about vegan & plant-based nutrition, cycling and endurance training, mountain bike tips, sports psychology, adventure travel, mindset, personal development, and entrepreneurship to help you unlock the best and healthiest version of yourself. Find out more at: www.sonyalooney.com
 
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My return to mountain bike racing after having kids has been so much fun! It's also had its fair share of challenges. I sat down with my husband, Matt to talk about what it's been like going from 1 to 2 children, traveling and racing with 2 small children, and the lessons we have learned along the way. We talked about expectations, how pre-race rou…
 
Dr. Sasha Heinz is a developmental psychologist turned mindset coach. She has her own private coaching practice grounded in psychological science. Dr. Heinz teaches the tools to change lives for good, develop mental fitness and transcend stress, anxiety, and self-criticism. She teaches her clients the science of unstuck. She was one of the first 33…
 
Dr. Jonathan Foley is a world-renowned environmental scientist, sustainability expert, author and public speaker, and the executive director of Drawdown. Drawdown’s mission is to help the world reach the point in the future when levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere stop climbing and start to decline as quickly, safely and equitably as possi…
 
Olympian Lea Davison began mountain bike racing in 2001. Since then, she’s earned a silver medal at the 2016 World Championships, a bronze medal at the 2014 World Championships, and finished 3rd overall in the 2015 World Cup series. Lea competed in the 2012 Olympic Games where she placed 11th and also in the 2016 Olympic Games where she placed 7th.…
 
Mark Bowden is a body language expert, keynote speaker and bestselling author of the books Winning Body Language; Winning Body Language for Sales Professionals; Tame the Primitive Brain; and Truth & Lies, What People are Really Thinking. He’s well known for his TedX talk “The Importance of Being Authentic” and his YouTube channel and weekly show “T…
 
On this week’s podcast, Sonya sat down with Jamie Mason Cohen, a resilience and leadership development expert. A Canadian native, Certified Leadership Coach, and a work history that includes Saturday Night Live, Jamie teaches resilience, wellness, leadership and communication to organizations. Jamie works to cultivate resilience through unique perf…
 
One of my most interesting realizations recently is that I am at my best when I'm living in the present moment and I am at my worst when I'm comparing myself. I've been doing specific contemplative meditations on comparison to learn more because it's part of being human to compare ourselves to others. The human mind compares so it can make predicti…
 
Michelle Segar is the director of the University of Michigan’s Sports, Health, and Activity Research and Policy Center, adviser to the Department of Health and Human Services, and chair of the United States National Physical Activity Plan’s Communication Committee, and author of the 2022 book The Joy Choice. The NIH-funded researcher at the Univers…
 
Frank Overton is a full time cycling coach and a USA Cycling Level 1 coach since 2006. He founded FasCat Coaching in 2002 to live out his dream to help cyclists. He focuses primarily on masters road, gravel, fondo, time trial, mountain bike and cyclocross athletes who take their training seriously. He previously worked for the Priority Health Profe…
 
Focus on what you can do, not what you can't. Look there, go there. Where focus goes, energy flows. Perhaps you've heard one or all of those phrases. Our thoughts and emotions generate our perspective and life experience. What we believe about ourselves, our day, the people around us, and the way the world works has an impact on the actions we take…
 
Payson McElveen is not your traditional professional mountain biker. After cycling at Fort Lewis College and becoming a two-time Marathon National Champion, Payson decided to focus more on longer events, instead of the traditional World Cup racing and pursuit of the Olympics. In 2017, he won his first national title at the 2017 Marathon Championshi…
 
Wow, I can't believe I've had the privilege of doing this podcast for 5 years! Today is the 300th episode! Initially, I was going to do a mash-up of my favorite episodes. That is still coming. Instead, I decided to record an episode on what having a podcast has taught me (not lessons about what guests have taught me). Consistency There is No End Po…
 
Britt Frank - therapist, teacher, speaker, and trauma specialist - focuses her work on helping others who feel stuck. Her life’s work developed out of a history of drug addiction, love addiction, borderline personality disorder, depression, an eating disorder and anxiety. It sounds like a lot, and it is, but her approach to her work comes from a de…
 
Sometimes life can feel hard and overwhelming. Big life changes often cause discomfort and stress, but out of it comes growth. Growth is something most of us want, but it's normally not something that feels good all the time. With growth can come a period of struggling, and sometimes that feeling of struggling can feel like it'll last forever. Pers…
 
This week’s podcast features a discussion with Stanford Female Athlete Science And Translational Research (FASTR) Program Director Dr. Emily Kraus and Lead Researcher Dr. Megan Roche. The FASTR program seeks to help close the gender gap in sports science research with an emphasis on early identification and interventions to prevent injury and ident…
 
Fiona Oakes is an elite marathon runner, who has completed over 100 marathons and finished in the top 20 in two of the world’s Major Marathon series, winning the Main Start and placing in the top 20 in the Great North Run. She holds four Guinness recognized World Records in endurance events including being the fastest woman to run a Marathon on eve…
 
Bob Doyle is a law of attraction expert and coach. The law of attraction is a belief that positive or negative thoughts bring positive or negative experiences into a person's life. He focuses heavily on helping people decide who they want to be and how they want to express themselves. Bob has been teaching these principles through programs, live ev…
 
In 2017, Hillary Allen experienced a life threatening accident that had the potential to completely derail her career as an endurance athlete. She fell 150 feet off a ridge-line during a race in Norway. With 14 broken bones, she was told she’d never run again, and most definitely not compete at an elite level. She overcame the odds and made a full …
 
Small wins are possibly one of the most important aspects of progress, motivation, and confidence in our lives that are overlooked. The reality is that they are the building blocks, the steps, the brush strokes to building a masterpiece. No one suddenly has a big, flashy achievement. They are the many steps to get there that build resilience and ch…
 
James Lawrence, also known as the Iron Cowboy, is a mindset and fitness coach, best known for testing his mental and physical limits. In 2021, James set out to complete 100 Ironman-distance triathlons in 100 days. He ended up doing 101 triathlons in 101 days. The Conquer 100 wasn’t the first time James tested his athletic limits. It started when hi…
 
Cycling has been a lifeline for Haley Smith. Haley, a top professional cyclist, competed in the cross-country event at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, winning the bronze medal, and was named to the 2020 Canadian Olympic team and competed in the delayed summer games in 2021. She recently signed with Maxxis Factory Racing after a decade with Norco. But …
 
Dr. Diana Hill focuses on ACT - Acceptance and Commitment Therapy - and specializes in evidence-based and compassion-focused approaches. Diana started as a biopsychology major and also practiced yoga and mindfulness to manage her struggles with anxiety and eating. After her undergraduate degree, she went for her PhD in clinical psychology. She beca…
 
Impostor Syndrome - you've heard of it. You've probably felt it. It happens when we discount our ability in a certain area or areas, despite obvious evidence to the contrary. For example, I've been World Champion. I've won major races around the world. I've been US National Champion 4 times. I have been a paid professional athlete since 2014…. and …
 
Gretchen Rubin has a knack for taking a huge amount of information and making it clear and relatable for the masses. Her focus is happiness and human nature and has several bestselling books, including The Happiness Project and The Four Tendencies. Her work draws from cutting-edge science, the wisdom of the ages, lessons from popular culture, and h…
 
Brian Asbill, MD, board certified in Cardiovascular Diseases and Clinical Lipidology, had a career defining moment back in 2013 (he’ll talk about this during the podcast). One of his patients, who had already survived two open heart surgeries and was still experiencing chest pain, came in to see him after a recommendation for a third surgery by a d…
 
Today, you'll learn the difference between fierce self-compassion and tender self-compassion. In 2017, I had the opportunity to sit down with Dr. Kristin Neff to talk about her book “Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself,” and the basics of self-compassion. This week, I had the opportunity to reconnect with Kristin, doing a de…
 
Our family made a lot of changes in the last year to our lives. We moved to an entirely new town, bought a house, changed our work environment, got pregnant with our second child, and we are raising a sweet toddler! Each month, I like bringing a solo episode to you. Usually, it's about a well-researched topic as it relates to topics covered on the …
 
Emily Oster tells it like it is. The Professor of Economics at Brown University is known for her books that take a data-driven approach to pregnancy and parenting. Wondering what’s behind the sushi rule during pregnancy or how much coffee you’re allowed to drink? Curious about co-sleeping? Potty Training? Emily provides the data and analysis that d…
 
Dani Taylor and Giacomo are vegan bodybuilders. Sounds a little bit like an oxymoron, right? But these two married athletes are amazing examples for how you can be plant-based, strong, and champions. In this podcast, Dani, Taylor and Sonya sat down to talk about how to be a vegan bodybuilder, what steps to take to incorporate more plant-based foods…
 
In this week’s podcast, Sonya sat down with Katy Milkman, a professor at The Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, as well as Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine, to discuss behavior sciences, behavior change, setting goals, and much more. Katy conducts research that looks at insights from economics and psychology and how the…
 
Excuses can show up in several forms, especially when it comes to following through with goals and commitments. The biggest excuse often comes in the form of procrastination. We say we will do something later and then we never do it. Other forms of excuses show up as a reason to let yourself off the hook. Maybe you feel like you're too tired, too l…
 
We all have ideas of what we want our life to look like. It could be something like weight loss, improving speed on the bike or running, or even cooking more at home. When you set those goals, how do you go about doing it? Have you set goals and ultimately lost motivation or simply got out of the habit? With the impending New Year, many of us like …
 
Imagine rocketing head and face-first down a frozen track around 80 miles per hour with the rapidly moving ground just inches from your face. Well, that sport is called Skeleton and Duff Gibson won a gold medal in the 2006 Winter Olympics for being the best. Not only that, but he is the oldest gold medalist in history in the Winter Olympics, winnin…
 
Muay Thai is a martial art and combat sport that uses stand-up striking along with various clinching techniques, and being plant-based has been a gamechanger for Cass Warbeck. Cass Warbeck started training martial arts at the age of 11 and is a black belt in Goju Ryu karate and black level in Kurama Yama kickboxing. After reading The China Study by…
 
"It's too late for me. I'm too old to start." Have you ever used these excuses are barriers? Meet Ian Morgan, an ultrarunner who is crushing it in his 50s. And guess what? He didn't even start on this journey until he was in his mid-40s. Ian was primarily focused on his engineering career and property investment company in his 20s and 30s. Realizin…
 
Have you ever noticed that when you get close to the end of something hard, you wish you were at the finish line? I notice this feeling the most in a mountain bike race. It doesn't matter how long the event is, but when I'm 70% done (or sometimes even before), I start dreaming of the finish line. It also happens during a workout or a project. We st…
 
Sarah Sturm is a cyclist who can't be grouped into a specific category of cycling. Although you might know her bright smile and speedy results from gravel, she is a 2x Singlespeed Cyclocross National Champion, a podium finisher at the Leadville 100 Mountain Bike Race this year, has multiple high-profile gravel accolades (aka Belgian Waffle Ride, St…
 
Most of us try to balance the act of doing and the feeling of being in our lives. We ask ourselves questions like, "How can I work hard and have success without burning out? What do I need to do to feel fulfilled while striving for improvement?" Brad Stulberg, author of the bestselling author of the new book, The Practice of Groundedness, and also …
 
Sonya has been committed to a plant-based diet for almost a decade. Her interest in and passion for the benefits of plant-based eating has led her to connect to those equally committed to the space. Cue this week’s episode with Stevan Mirkovich - owner of Planted Expo, a trade show, platform and network to connect Canadians to local vegan and plant…
 
This week, Sonya gets personal and talks about all the details of her second pregnancy. She shares her experience from the first 20 weeks and some of the lessons she learned from her first pregnancy with her son. Key Takeaways: Why we decided to have a baby now Early pregnancy experience with a SURPRISE My biggest lesson as a parent Knowing when to…
 
After first connecting on Twitter, Sonya was interviewed on Lindsey Hein’s podcast “I’ll Have Another with Lindsey Hein,” where she talks with motivating and inspiring runners. Lindsey aims to inspire and refresh listeners in her conversations with runners of all levels, from your everyday runner to Olympic athletes. Lindsey is an RRCA Certified Ru…
 
Dre Baldwin went from playing NCAA D3 basketball to a nine-year basketball pro. His path to the highest level fo the sport required a level of discipline and toughness that drove him to build his “Work On Your Game” brand to share those tenets with a wider audience. He is now a full-time entrepreneur who has authored 29 books and participated in TE…
 
It IS possible to thrive in motherhood and your career! This is the message that Molly Dickens, co-founder of &Mother actively promotes. &Mother’s vision is a culture where motherhood is not a limiting factor in how women succeed professionally or personally, and where women can openly express their needs and receive support without retribution. It…
 
I've spent well over a decade focusing on peak performance- both athletically in my quest to become one of the world's best endurance mountain bikers, but also in business and brainpower. I used to think the key to peak performance was the focus on mastery: putting in the work to acquire the skills and wisdom to be a top performer in a given area. …
 
As an endurance athlete, nutrition is a critical piece of success. In this week’s podcast, Sonya sat down with Stevie Lyn Smith, a Registered Dietitian and avid endurance athlete, to talk all things sports nutrition. Stevie Lyn is a sports nutrition specialist, marathon runner, Ironman triathlete and adventurer. She knows a thing or two about prepa…
 
What happens when you start running for fun instead of a finish line? In this week’s podcast, Sonya sat down with Tina Muir, CEO of Running for Real, an incredible podcast and the largest global community of socially engaged runners, and talked about learning how to run for enjoyment instead of recognition. Tina hosts the Running for Real Podcast, …
 
Mindset and performance coach Polly Bateman works with clients to recognize negative patterns in behavior and barriers they reinforce for themselves. By facilitating a shift in mindset, Polly helps her clients progress in life to become more fulfilled and happy. Polly believes that we’re our own problem and solution and that everything we need to l…
 
Catharine Pendrel, a three-time Olympian and 2016 Bronze medalist mountain biker, became a new mom this year. In this episode, Sonya and Catharine discuss training during pregnancy, process-oriented goals, overcoming adversity during the pandemic, and more. Pendrel grew up riding horses and later bicycles in Canada. In addition to her Olympic appea…
 
How do you feel in your body when you hear the word stress? I'll give you a second to tune in. We spend so much time trying to avoid stress, but what would happen if we leaned into it? What would happen if we allowed ourselves to feel it? How we relate to stress is important to making it work for us in a positive way. Oftentimes, we view stress as …
 
Experiencing the outdoors in Canada is a must. The gorgeous landscape is prime for all kinds of outdoor activities. But the terrain can be tricky, so It’s important to make sure you’re informed, aware and safe when enjoying nature. That’s where AdventureSmart comes in. AdventureSmart is a national program dedicated to encouraging Canadians and its …
 
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